i am finding time, each night, to sift through a few things that my parents have saved throughout the years and recently sent home with me. my mom is a card giver and a card keeper. i have never been much of either, yet i’m taking the time to read through each sweet card that she saved before placing them in one of two piles; one on its way to the recycling bin and the other to my closet where i have somehow condensed decades of living into two small suitcases. within them, i stash away the few things that i imagine my children might enjoy seeing some day.

i love the little things that i am noticing as i read through these cards—like the shift from my parents signing ‘mommy and daddy’ to ‘mom and dad’ around 1989, how my grandma’s unique character spiritedly splashes out onto the thick paper and becomes conveyed through her eccentric handwriting…and the way that my grandpa ciula habitually wrote ‘love ya’ so that the end of the ‘l’ swept across the entire page.

i smile.

these experiences and people are forever etched in my mind without palpable reminders. still, it is fun to reminisce through the occasional unfolding of these safeguarded keepsakes. while i enjoy looking through these things, i also enjoy an uncluttered and simple living space. at some point, taking a photo of and writing about the sentimental items that i don’t necessarily want to keep, yet appreciate, became my way of simultaneously holding on while letting go.

for now, it is a compromise that works.

“the art is not one of forgetting but letting go. and when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.” —rebecca solnit, from a field guide to getting lost